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二週間でみた日本(2)シニアのエージェンシー

再会を楽しみにしていた女性に会いに、銭湯のサウナに行ってみた。すると80代(もっと高年?)とおぼしき女性が、非常に危なっかしい足取りですぐ横を通っていくのを目にした。私のだす石鹸の泡で転んでは大変!と、おもわず手を差しだしたら「前をごめんなさい(正確には横)」と淑やかな彼女。「こんな熱いお湯につかって大丈夫なの」とひやひやしていたら、彼女はまた湯船につかり「お先ですぅ」と満足げに去っていった。お見事。

以前、アルプスの近くに住むシニアの哲学者で牧師さんが、話してくれたことがあった。一人で山登りに出かけるとき、娘や息子が携帯電話を持って出かけるように繰り返しいうが。彼曰く「それはしたくない。それは私の自由」と。なるほど!

彼が毎日同じ赤のセーターを着ていたのは、徐々に視力を失っていく妻に(のちに他界)自分がそばにいることを知らせるためだった。そんな慕い寄っていきたくなるような篤実なフランス人男性が、家族の心配をわからないはずはない。

。。。下につづく

Japan in two weeks (2) Senior agency

I was in Japan for two weeks or so. Over this short period, there were so many things: American presidential election, Japan’s TPP push, flu season, Professor Nussbaum’s winning the Kyoto Prize, etc. I have written a few blog articles on some issues. This piece is about my comments on recent media reports on older drivers reported as dangerous.

Japan in two weeks (1) sexual harassment

I was in Japan for two weeks or so. Over this short period, there were so many things: American presidential election, Japan’s TPP push, flu season, Professor Nussbaum’s winning the Kyoto Prize, etc. I have written a few blog articles on some issues. This piece is about my thoughts on sexual harassment and sexual assault incidences in recent Japan.

二週間でみた日本(1)セクハラ

二週間とちょっと、関西にいました。その間に米国の大統領選挙があり、日本ではTPPの国会承認手続きへの動きがあり、恩師マーサ・ヌスバウム先生が賞のために来日され、彼女を迎えた京都ではしつこく咳がつづくマイコプラズマ肺炎という病気がはやり、ネットでは私のペーパー(日本会議について)を載せていただいたりしたようでした。その間のことを、何回かに分けてブログに書きとめたいと思います。

・・・・

京都の下鴨署などで通訳をする友人が、こぼれ話をしてくれた。夜中の2時3時、早朝にも電話がかかり出かけるらしい。それも毎日のように。私なら寝ぼけて「グッド・ラック」といって、お断りするだろうか。元気に仕事を引き受ける彼女は、エライ!

よくあるケースに、日本人男性と外国人女性のトラブルがあるという。「セクハラ」というので「レイプなの?」と聞くと、「強姦ではなく、男性が女性の性器を触ったりする」のだという。

。。。下につづく

Healthy and wise

It was a rainy day in the morning of November 5, and there was already a queue at our local theatre hall. A young lady opened the door and helped me find the umbrella rack. She said, “I’ve never seen these many people eager to donate blood, especially on a gloomy day like this.” I remarked, “It might be the warmth and dryness that have brought them here.”

After over an hour of waiting and filling in the 4-page questionnaire, the doctor told me politely that I could not donate blood because I’m less than 50kg. I was surprised and disappointed thus as soon as I got home, I checked online to make sure that it had nothing to do with reasons other than weight.

Yes, it’s true that donors are required to have the minimum weight of 50kg for a minimum of 400ml of blood for the blood bag to contain the sufficient therapeutic dose (as the doctor had explained to me).

I was really looking forward to it that I had ample breakfast to help me avoid feeling unwell or fainting; consequently, I had to delay lunch.

The Etablissement Français du Sang – EFS (French National Blood Service) is responsible for the collection of all types of blood donation and takes all precautions to ensure that donations (whether they be whole blood, platelet, plasma, and bone marrow or cord blood) are done in high quality and safety conditions for both donors and receivers.

While queuing I heard that about 14% of the French population donate blood annually. People between the ages of 18 and 70 can donate blood. After the age of 60, however, all donations require the approval of an EFS doctor.

米軍の極秘プロジェクト

今週火曜日。午前6時前。

外はまだ暗く、頭の中もぼおっと薄暗く、フランス・アンフォ(ラジオ)を聞きながらパンを口にしようとした矢先、椅子からずり落ちそうになった。

ニュースが伝えるには、冷戦時代にしかも氷原の下につくられた米軍極秘核ミサイル基地が、気候変動により地表に出てくる可能性があるという。

「なんとまあ。米軍って、とんでもない事をやってのけるよな――。汚したまま片づけもせずに、核廃棄物を置き土産にでて行ったのは沖縄だけじゃないんだ」とあらためて知った。

ネットで調べてみたら、英ガーディアン紙のジョン・ヘンリー記者が基地に関する記事を書いていたので、訳する許可をいただいた。

。。。下につづく

Languages in Luxembourg

This blog is about Luxembourg’s linguistic situation.

One of the big differences between my native Japan and Luxembourg is that the latter has three official languages (French, German, and Luxembourgish), plus English in academic/EU institutions.  Another one is that Luxembourg invests far more in education than Japan.  The implications are far-reaching, I think.

ルクセンブルグの言語環境

その日のワークショップの講演者は、ケベックから招かれた大学教授だった。私の後ろに、ドイツ人の友人が座った。

彼は右隣の人とルクセンブルグ語で話し、左隣の人とはドイツ語で、斜め前の人とはフランス語で、私には英語で話しかける。右を向き左を向き、話し相手の母国語か、相手が一番ラクに感じる言語の4ヶ国語でやりとりしている。この5人の共通語は仏語と英語で、彼の冗談に一斉に笑ったりする。

ある週末。有機野菜のマルシェ。(ちなみにラジオ情報によると、最近フランスでは有機農家が一日に26件増えているらしい)

店主の名はエミン。コソボ出身の友人である。メルディッタ(コソボ語でこんにちは)とあいさつし、野菜やくだものを選んで彼に渡す。

「さっきジャン=クロード・ユンケルが、買い物に来てたよ」とエミンがいう。ユンケルさんは、20年近くルクセンブルグの首相を務め、現在、欧州委員会の委員長である。

彼はメルケル首相と話すときはドイツ語で、オランド大統領とはフランス語で、英国首相やEUでは英語で、いずれもネイティブのように話す。相手の母国語で話すということは、その国の感受性もあるということである。そういう政治家の存在は、やはりルクセンブルグやベルギーならではだ。

(ついでに当地はルクセンブルグ・リークス、通称ルクスリークスというのもありました)

。。。下につづく

Donating and volunteering: For love of self and others

In the first week of September, in Luxembourg, I had lunch with the funding member of ‘Dress for Success’ and my student who wants to join her in helping and empowering women. A few days later, I bumped into an acquaintance who has been teaching French to new arrivals in our region without financial remuneration. Two weeks ago, I attended a fundraising dinner and dance in a town about 10km from my city. It was a friendly atmosphere with men, women and children making sure that we would have a fantastic time, in addition to being busy collecting money for local charities and NGOs. Last week, through the encouragement of a friend, I went to the nearby park and was mesmerised by about a dozen tents with generous and smiling individuals selling and entertaining people for good causes.

As I write this article, I think of my friend who has always time for her environmental group doing information dissemination, pancake making and coordinating Christmas stalls; as well as my ex-student who founded ‘United by Dream Onlus,’ a humanitarian organisation aiding impoverished children and their families. Sometime in our lives, we are volunteers; however, some do more than others.

Why do we volunteer? Research and individual testimonies have revealed that volunteering has benefits for individuals and societies, and the main ones are: i) It gives the volunteer a sense of achievement and belongingness to a community; ii) Offers opportunity to meet diverse range of people and experiences; iii) It enhances social and relationship abilities; iv) Enables development and/or practice of new skills, hobbies and interests; v) Can boost your career; vi) It’s a rich resource for organisations to carry out their missions, thus helping less fortunate than we are or those in need.

Computer Literacy

A few weeks ago, while researching for information on technological jargon for my intermediate class, I fell into a test on computer knowledge. I sometimes get into this spur-of-the-moment kind of thing and forget it in a blink. That test, however, turned out to be more than just an extemporaneous ego exercise. The result indicated that I only have average knowledge of computers (I’m being generous with myself as the average score on that day was 7.3/10 while I got only 7). For someone who has a website and blog regularly, has self-published a book and is active online, I thought I would be above average. I may not be a power user of new and advanced technology, but I’m certainly a computer literate.

Computer literacy (CL) refers to the ability to use computer applications rather than programs. How literate do we need in order to succeed professionally and make the most of life?

Australian public and private schools have computer science as a subject. For instance, the New South Wales public schools’ Year 6 students (their average age is 12 years) are taught and expected to have the following computer skills: Using computer-based technologies to manipulate, create, store and retrieve information to express ideas and communicate with others (Word Processing, Graphics and Multi-media); Using computer-based technologies to locate, access, evaluate, store and retrieve information (Spreadsheets and Databases) and to express ideas and communicate with others (Internet and Email); Downloading copy of document; Identifying hardware components, such as keyboard, mouse and screen (see ''List of Computer Skills addressed by the Year 6 Computer Skills Assessment'' on www.schools.nsw.edu.au).

Not long ago, I read a report saying that in the USA as much as 60% of schools issue laptops or tablets to their students.

あなたも・わたしも・みんな ⎯⎯ 「障害者」の定義づけ

相模原障害者施設殺傷事件について

シカゴ市内の精神病棟で、元クラスメートにばったり会った。

広大な州立病院で「さち」と呼ばれて、お互い目をあわせて一瞬かたってしまった。

4・5年ぶりの再会で、名前がすぐに思い出せなかった。互いに「この人は患者なんだろうか、あるいは・・・」ととっさに判断しようとしていたように思う。

彼がそれを問いかけた。「なんで、ここにいるの?」

私は大学から来ていることを告げ、彼もリサーチでインタビューしに来ているのだという。そんなことを話しながら、笑いあった。白衣やパジャマなど「役割」を示すユニホームがないから、たたずまいや言葉づかいや語彙で、判断するしかない。ハロウィンの日は薬物中毒の男性が、担当医に扮して蝶ネクタイをつけていた。そんな病棟である。

。。。下につづく

I was in Nice, France

(This is dedicated to the people of Nice and those who were in this radiant and splendid city on the 14th of July 2016)

We lived in Nice (the capital of the French Riviera with about 344,000 inhabitants) for over one year and have unforgettable moments there, including visits of our Australian nephew and friends who jogged at the Promenade des Anglais (7-kilometre walkway along the sea) in shorts and sleeveless t-shirts in winter. They were amazed by the very narrow streets of Vieux Nice (Old Town of Nice) aligned with colourful (mainly yellow-brown) houses that have laundry hanging from the windows and specialty shops, such as the butcher that sells alive-looking pheasants (with heads and feathers, of course).

According to literature, Nice was founded by the Greeks, and during the 19th-century it was a famous destination for Europe’s elite. Today, it attracts travellers and artists from all over the world due to its sunny weather and liberal atmosphere, splashy markets, alluring restaurants and proximity to other well-known places (such as Cannes, Monaco and Saint Paul de Vence).

Its library, the Bibliothèque Louis Nucéra, was our second home. Almost every day, I found myself relaxing on its colourful small chairs between bookshelves and audio-visual stands. We made the most of the free artistic workshops and film showings on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I often mingled with retirees wanting to learn or improve their computer skills. Once I had to help a well-groomed woman in her mid/late 60s who was struggling to upload information on pages of an introduction website.

選挙 と 日本会議 と 主権を制約しようとする「自虐」の日本人!?

先月。パリのジュンク堂に10日後に届くはずだった本が、棚にあった。よろこび勇んで菅野元さんの「日本会議の研究」をゲットし、あわせて集英社のKotobaも読んだ。人にすすめられ「そおーかなァ」と半信半疑で読んでたら、なんと読めば読むほどオモシロい。日本会議に、はまってしまった。最近、肩ががちがちにこっているのは、そのせいだろうか。日本会議をとりまく問題はパンドラの箱というか、昔話にでてくるお化けというか。開けてもあけても魑魅魍魎がでてきて、おもしろい。

すこし最近の雑感とぼやきを。

日本の選挙投票日は、なぜかこちらのお祝いの日と重なる。今回は、欧州のサッカー最強国を決める決勝日だった。その前の選挙は、友人カップルの新居でお茶をする予定が、あまりの選挙結果に落ち込み私だけ家に引きこもった。その前は、忘れもしないベルギーの建国記念日。友人宅でバーベキュー・パーティーという楽しいはずの7月21日。「家が一番」と満足げな友人や子どもたちがプールサイドで踊りたわむれ、水しぶきを太陽光が反射していた。それを眺める友人たちはフラゴリーノ(苺のお酒)をたのしみ。まわりは幸福に息づまるような快晴の夏日で、私は暗澹たる気分で日本を心配していた。その落差ったら、ないッ。

一水会の鈴木邦男氏が日本会議の中心人物たちのことを、「優秀な人たち」と評価していた。www.videonews.com/marugeki-talk 。。。

。。。下につづく

Expired Medication

There were more rainy than sunny days in my region last month. As in previous spring months, I took the pleasure organising not only my wardrobe but cabinets and cupboards. I was heartbroken putting outdated medicines in a paper bag. I thought of bringing these to the chemist (UK)/pharmacy (US) on my way to work, but the queue was half a kilometre long and my bus was about 5 minutes from departing, so I ended up bringing this with me to a nearby country (where I work) that does not legally obliged chemists to take unwanted or expired medicines.

Arriving in the classroom, the first thing I did was to ask my students if they knew of the nearby chemist that accept expired drugs. Co-incidentally, one of them actually took an expired aspirin that morning and she said that she had done this before and it was effective in getting rid of her headache.
The other two students asked me if we can still consume drugs after their use-by date. The Harvard Medical School has reported Psychopharmacology Today’s advice that a drug is absolutely 100% effective even when the expiration date has passed a few years.

According to Psychopharmacology Today, most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration for the military, and this study found that 90% of more than 100 drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter) were perfectly good to use even after 15 years of its expiration date (except nitro-glycerine, insulin and liquid antibiotics), and placing a medication in a cool place (such as a refrigerator) will help drugs remain potent for many years.

(Do you wonder about the role of manufacturers and those in the market chain regarding the use-by or expiration date?)

Deported of Indochina: "We Are Forgotten Ones of History"

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